30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Mind Works in Mysterious Ways

When I taught fifth and sixth grade, my students and I would sometimes play the Word Association Game.  It's simple.  A student would pick a word like "homework".  The next student would say the first word that popped into their head like "painful".  The game would continue to the next student and so on and so on.  The catch?  They'd have one second or less to respond.  If they didn't, they were out.  Students would also be out if they couldn't explain the connection.  In other words, they couldn't just shout out a random word.  The last person standing would win points for their table.

Today's post is a variation of that game inspired by Night Owl's Thinking Exercise post where he wrote down the first player that came to mind when he thought of a certain MLB team.  I started to play along while I read his post, but quickly realized his picks were influencing my own.  The good news is my short term memory is similar to Dory's from Finding Nemo, so twenty-something hours later (started this post at around 4:30pm on Wednesday) I was ready to make my own picks.

I started out by typing out every current MLB team by their divisions.  Then I saved this post and watched two episodes of Peaky Blinders on Netflix.  I came back, reopened this, and rapidly typed out the first player that came to mind from the bottom of this list (Washington Nationals) to the top (Houston Astros).

Disclaimer:  I encounter one major problem.  While typing out a response, I would peek at the next team which sometimes gave me enough time to think of multiple players.  I resolved this issue by only writing down the first name that popped into my head.  All card images were added after I had made all of my selections.

With that out of the way... let's the word association game begin:

American League West

Houston Astros - Jose Altuve

2016 Topps Chrome Refractor #27


Los Angeles Angels - Rod Carew

1982 Fleer #455


Oakland A's - Rickey Henderson

1991 Stadium Club Charter Member #NNO


Seattle Mariners - Ken Griffey Jr.

1993 Topps Pre-Production Sample #79


Texas Rangers - Juan Gonzalez

1996 SP Holoview Special FX #29

The AL West was filled with pretty common choices with the exception of the Rangers.  I'm not sure why I thought of Gonzalez over guys like Nolan Ryan and Adrian BeltreThe mind works in mysterious ways.


National League West

Arizona Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez

2002 Ultra Gold Medallion #167


Colorado Rockies - Todd Helton

2008 Topps Chrome Refractor #57


Los Angeles Dodgers - Steve Garvey

1975 Topps #140


San Diego Padres - Tony Gwynn

2011 Topps Kimball Champions #KC59


San Francisco Giants - Will Clark

1987 Fleer #269

Garvey, Gwynn, and Clark were all guys from my youthHelton was a career-long Rockie.  And Gonzalez was on my mind, because I've been drafting a post about home run hitters and he's part of it.


American League Central

Chicago White Sox - Frank Thomas

1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase #VJ15


Cleveland Indians - Manny Ramirez

1995 Leaf Limited Lumberjacks #14


Detroit Tigers - Kirk Gibson

1981 Fleer #481


Kansas City Royals - Dan Quisenberry

1986 Topps #50


Minnesota Twins - Rod Carew

1970 Kellogg's #47

More 80's and 90's guys.  Not sure why Puckett didn't pop into my head.  He was one of my favorite players back in the day.  The mind works in mysterious ways.


National League Central

Chicago Cubs - Ryne Sandberg

1991 Fleer Factory Set Pro-Vision #3


Cincinnati Reds - Pete Rose

1979 Topps #204


Milwaukee Brewers - Rollie Fingers

1985 Topps #750


Pittsburgh Pirates - Tony Pena

1984 Topps #645


St. Louis Cardinals - Vince Coleman

1986 Donruss #181

Even more 80's and 90's guys.  I'm happy that Pena and Coleman were the first guys I thought of for the respective teams, since both were favorites of mine in the 80's.


American League East

Baltimore Orioles - Cal Ripken Jr.

1992 Leaf Preview Gold #13


Boston Red Sox - Jim Rice

1975 Topps #616


New York Yankees - Rickey Henderson

1985 O-Pee-Chee #115


Tampa Bay Rays - BJ Upton

2005 Ultra Gold Medallion #208


Toronto Blue Jays - Dave Stieb

1980 Topps #77

Ugh.  I hate that Henderson was the first Yankee I thought of.  I'm also surprised with my Red Sox selection.  Sure I like Jim Rice, but I also like Carlton Fisk, Dwight Evans, Cecil Cooper, and Fred Lynn.  The Rays were the only team on this list that I struggled with.  It took about 1.2 seconds for Upton to pop into my head.


National League East

Atlanta Braves - Hank Aaron

1974 Topps #1


Miami Marlins - Ichiro Suzuki

2016 Stadium Club #102


New York Mets - Dwight Gooden

1986 Drake's Super Pitchers #36


Philadelphia Phillies - Pete Rose

1982 Donruss #1


Washington Nationals - Kurt Suzuki

2013 Topps Walmart Blue #208

The NL East might be rounding out this post, but remember... I actually started with the Nationals and worked my way up.  I surprised myself with the SuzukisIchiro will always be associated by me with the Mariners and Kurt with the A's.  Yet when I got to both of those teams, I thought of different players.  Like I said earlier... the mind works in mysterious ways.

Possible Blog Bat-Around?  Some people left comments on Night Owl's post saying they'd try this out and post the results on their blog.  I hope people do.  I'd like to see the variety of names that pop up when card collectors think of different baseball franchises.

Well that's it for today.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Living the Dream

A few weeks ago, bloggers around the card collecting blogosphere were busy writing about their Favorite Card of 2018 for P-town Tom's contest.  I confessed to all of my readers that I was hankering for a BJ.  Well I found one on the internet and it was very satisfying.

Feast your eyes on the latest addition to my Archives Fan Favorites autograph collection:

2018 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autograph #FFA-BJ

BJ and I have a lot in common.


We both love baseball, looking at statistics, and writing.  These three passions have turned him into one of the most famous baseball statisticians out there.  Me?  Well... it's turned me into a card collector who has a blog.  See.  We're both living the dream!

Okay... it's your turn.

What are three things you're passionate about?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Opening My Eyes

It's funny how the mind works.  No matter how hard I try, I just don't associate certain players with certain teamsVladimir Guerrero is the perfect example.  Whenever I think about his career, I immediately think of his time in Montreal.  In fact, whenever I target his cards, I won't even consider his Angels, Orioles, or Rangers cards.  He just doesn't seem right wearing any of those jerseys.

Considering he only played one season in Arlington and another in Baltimore, I don't really blame myself.  But Vladimir spent six full seasons with the Angels, which is close to 40% of his career.

Well... with the help of a fellow blogger, that's about to changeA few weeks ago, Tom over at The Angels, In Order showed off a 1998 Pinnacle Mint bronze coin and card of Vladimir and I mentioned how I had quietly started collecting him.  I also threw in that the majority of those cards were of him featured as an Expo.

A few days later, he emailed me and asked if he could send me some cards featuring him in his Angels uniform.  I happily accepted.


Last week, I received a nice padded envelope filled with nothing but Vladimir.  And with the exception of the 2008 UD Masterpieces card (lower left-hand corner), he's representing the Anaheim or Los Angeles Angels.

Obviously I appreciate each and every card he sent, but I've gotta admit... I favored some more than others based on designs and/or photographs.  So without further adieu... here are some of my personal favorites:

2008 Stadium Club #61

I'll take a clear, well-cropped action shot over just about any other photograph out there.


2007 SP Authentic #73

In fact, the 2007 SP Authentic design is average at best, but when you put this awesome, well-cropped action shot on it... it becomes one helluva card.


2007 Goudey Red Back #99

When it comes to portrait shots, that's when the card's design plays a big role1933 Goudey is one of the best looking vintage designs around.


2008 Topps Trading Card History #TCH38

Here's another cool looking throwback.  This time around it features one of the more popular 60's oddballs: 1961 Post.


2008 Topps National Baseball Card Day #5

And finally my favorite card in the stack.  I'm a huge fan of the 2008 Topps baseball card design.  I've already mentioned how much I enjoy well-cropped action shots.  Combine these two things on an oddball giveaway and you have something truly special.

Thank you Tom for helping me boost my Vladimir Guerrero collection with these awesome Angels.  More importantly... thank you for opening my eyes and reminding me that Guerrero spent six awesome seasons in sunny Southern California.

Here is today's question of the day...

When you think of the Angels, who are the first players that come to mind?


I'll answer by decades...

70'sNolan Ryan
80'sRod Carew and Wally Joyner
90'sJim Abbott and Tim Salmon
00's:  ?????
10'sMike Trout

Well... that's it for today.  Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Logo-less and Lovely

Logos matter.  At least to this collector.  If you read this blog on a regular basis, then I'm sure you know that I've never been shy about my dislike for most logo-less trading cards.  However every now and then, I'll come across a non-MLB licensed product that isn't too bad.  I enjoyed collecting Panini Hometown Heroes a few years ago.  Their Golden Age cards were cool too.

Last March, I wrote a post about the 2015 Leaf Sport Kings buyback autographs that I enjoy picking up whenever they're affordable.  It was then and there that I confessed that I had a change of heart when it came to purchasing logo-less sport cards.

That's why I was pretty excited to see that Sage was going to release a 2018 Sport Kings product.  My main concern was that it was a set being created by Sage, which is a company I've never really been a fan of.  But I figured if they were able to utilize the traditional attractive card design as well as add some decent names to their multi-sport checklist, then I'd give this stuff a shot.


After watching Steel City Collectibles bust a blaster on You Tube in early November, I was interested.  A few weeks later, I saw blasters on Target's website.  In two separate purchases, I grabbed four boxes.

Last week, I opened all four and was very pleased with what I saw.  The base cards are truly gorgeous:


And if you're wondering why there aren't career statistics listed on the back of the cards, it's because the original 1933 Sport Kings didn't either.

As expected, the checklist is filled with legendary sports figures like Walter Payton, Abby Wambach, and Joe Lewis.


Unfortunately since the checklist is only made up of 48 athletes, there were a ton of big names left out.  But that's okay.  Maybe this will become Sage's version of a living set.

Another thing that I love about this product is that there aren't a bunch of inserts and parallels.  It's pretty simple.  There are exactly two variation cardsTy Cobb and Walter Payton.  There's the standard sized base set, the autographs, and relics.  Outside of that, the only other thing to collect are the mini parallels:


It looks like the hobby boxes also have their own special base cards with green text as well as sketch cards that aren't available in blaster boxes.  Thanks Kin for bringing this to my attention.

Each blaster box contains 8 packsSeven of the packs contain four standard sized cards and one mini.  The eighth pack contains your hit.  Here are the four that I pulled out of my boxes:


***That's Mike Boddiker pictured on that Palmer relic.  Thanks to Dion and sg488 for pointing this out.

Normally, I'm all about the hits.  But these are by far the least favorite part about this product.  The other downside was that I wasn't able to complete a base set from the four blasters I opened.  Here's a look at what I still need:


I was able to pull both Ty Cobb cards, but only one of the Walter Paytons.  Plus I need two other cards.

I'm also chasing the mini set as well.  I purchased a large lot of minis on eBay, which helped me narrow down my wantlist to these nine cards:


I know that this might sound a little crazy, but I actually think this was my favorite product of 2018.  It's definitely my favorite logo-less sports card product of 2018.  I'm excited to read what you think.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!